History100 years of sun, sand and surf life saving for local club

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100 years of sun, sand and surf life saving for local club

Bundaberg Surf Club 100
Australian champion masters boat crew Peter Dahl, John McGregor, Kerry Short, Paul Wessel and James Ferguson.

Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club members have been the proud protectors of Nielson Park Beach visitors for 100 years.

As the club gears up to celebrate it's centenary, which was scheduled to take place last year, we take a look back at its establishment and history with former president and Coordinator of Centenary Celebrations, Lynda Cremer.

Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club established to offer protection

Records of the Surf Life Saving Queensland State Centre have 1921 marked as the year that the first reel was officially placed on the beach at Nielson Park beach.

But according to Lynda, the move to provide protection to swimmers in the area came long before then.

“It is recorded that following a fatality at Nielson Park beach on New Years day in 1916, a special meeting of the Bundaberg Amateur Swimming Club was called to send a team of their most proficient swimmers to the coast on all excursion trains,” she said.

“In 1924 the Mayor of Bundaberg, Alderman WSP Gavegan, became President of the club which was a position he held for three years.

“Then, in it's first 66 years the club had just four presidents with Mr Noel Bullpitt MBE holding the position for 41 years.”

Plenty of milestones celebrated in 100 years

Lynda said over it's 100 years the Bundaberg SLSC had reached many milestones, including becoming famous Australia-wide for it's March Past Team.

“Bundaberg won the March Past at the Australian titles 17 times between 1959 and 1987 with many second and third places also achieved in those years,” she said.

Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club
Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club became well-known for its March Past Team.

“Bundaberg SLSC March Past Team was inducted into the Surf Life Saving Australia Hall of Fame in 2004.”

Another historic event which enjoyed great success was the Summertime Surf Girl Quest.

The club hosted the event in Bundaberg for 40 years, from 1970 to 2010.

“The Summertime Surfgirl was the social event of the year in Bundaberg and in 2008, there were over 800 guests at the function,” Lynda said.

“Bundaberg has the record for the number of Queensland State Surfgirls with six young women winning the coveted title.”

Booklet documents 100-year history

In the entire 100-year history of the club, there has been just 11 presidents with Lynda elected the first female for the role from 2013 to 2017.

Nowadays, her position of Coordinator of Centenary Celebrations involved delving deep into the club's history to help produce a special book to commemorate 100 years.

Lynda said in 1986, Life Governor and Club President of 41 years Mr Noel Bullpitt MBE wrote “A Surf Life Saving Saga” to celebrate the first 65 years of the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club.

“With the assistance of Mrs Sandra Killer who retyped the entire text, Mr Bullpitt's book forms part of this centenary book,” Lynda said.

“Last year we employed an author/photojournalist, Mr Murray Clifford to help us put together the 35 years history 1987 to 2021 using club annual reports.

“Murray also wrote profiles on a selection of current members to include in the book.”

Bundaberg Surf Life Saving 100
Mayor Jack Dempsey, Lynda Cremer, Allan Teasdale and John McGregor at the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club with the Celebrating Our Centenary book.

Lynda collected, dated and worked with Murray to caption all of the photos for the book.

With the assistance of members and Surf Life Saving Queensland Surf Sports staff and many hours of research, she also compiled the list of Australian and State Championship surf sports results to include in the documentation.

“For me, producing this book has been a labour of love to research details, source photos and coordinate the editing and printing of the book and I hope it becomes a reference of our history for future generations,” Lynda said.

Titled Celebrating our Centenary, the book was released this week as part of the club's official celebrations.

Bundaberg Surf Life Saving
The Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Clubhouse in 1942.

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